A long Anglican road to Rome

In the fall of 1979, a cluster of Episcopalians made another trip to Rome seeking a haven for Anglo-Catholic believers anxious to exit their increasingly divided church.Vatican officials agreed that it was time to petition their new leader, the young Pope John Paul II. The document was prepared and then signed on the altar of the North American Martyrs at Rome's North American College. In it, members of the Society of St. Augustine of Canterbury and other like-minded clergy made a blunt … [Read more...]

Why journalists (heart) the Episcopal Church

On a typical Sunday, 4,281 Episcopalians attend services in the world-famous Diocese of New Hampshire, according to official church reports.This isn't a large number of worshippers in the pews of 47 parishes -- roughly the same number that would attend weekend Masses in two or three healthy Catholic parishes in a typical American city.Episcopal attendance in New Hampshire fell sharply between 2003 and 2007, which is the most recent statistical year available (pdf). Meanwhile, this diocese … [Read more...]

Chopping that Anglican timeline

The resolution from the 1979 Episcopal General Convention in Denver inspired a small wave of headlines, even though it simply restated centuries of doctrine about marriage."We reaffirm the traditional teaching of the Church on marriage, marital fidelity and sexual chastity as the standard of Christian sexual morality," it said. "Candidates for ordination are expected to conform to this standard."However, 21 bishops disagreed, publicly stating that gay sexual relationships were "no less a … [Read more...]

Walking in St. Tikhon’s footsteps

It didn't take long for controversy to spread about the photograph taken after the consecration rites in 1900 for a new bishop in Wisconsin.Low-church Episcopalians called it the "Fond du Lac Circus" because of all the ornate vestments. Not only was Bishop Charles Chapman Grafton, who presided, wearing a cope and mitre, but so were the other bishops. Then there were was the exotic visitor on the edge of the photograph -- Bishop Tikhon of the Russian Orthodox Church.Imagine the outrage if … [Read more...]

Politics dominate 2008 religion

After waves of headlines about faith and politics, President-elect Barack Obama was the clear choice as the top Religion Newsmaker of 2008.The odds were also good that the Religion Newswriters Association would pick the White House race as its top news story. But there was a problem. There were so many faith-based issues in play during this election year that America's religion-beat specialists had trouble deciding which of these hot stories was No. 1.In the end, this was the winning item: … [Read more...]

Gently fighting for Christmas

Merry Christmas.No, honest, as in "the 12 days of" you know what between Dec. 25 and Jan. 5.If you doubt the accuracy of this statement, you can head over to the website of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. There you will find an interactive calendar that bravely documents the fact that, according to centuries of Christian tradition, the quiet season called Advent has just ended and the 12-day Christmas season has just begun.So cease stripping the decorations off your tree and … [Read more...]

‘No go’ zones in UK — again

The alleged crime took place at the corner of Alum Rock and Ellesmere roads in Birmingham, England, where an officer spotted two missionaries distributing "God's Bridge to Eternal Life" tracts.The controversial pamphlets contained comments such as, "Throughout history individuals have tried many ways to gain or earn eternal life, but every attempt has been unsuccessful." There were Bible verses, such as, "Not by works of righteousness, which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us. … [Read more...]

Dueling Anglican pulpits

There is nothing new about Anglicans worrying about the environment.One of the Church of England's most famous hymns, after all, offers this somber vision of industrialization from poet William Blake: "And did the countenance divine shine forth upon our clouded hills? And was Jerusalem builded here among those dark satanic mills?"Nevertheless, a recent sermon by the U.S. Episcopal Church's outspoken leader raised eyebrows as it circulated in cyberspace. Some traditionalists were not amused by a … [Read more...]


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